VolunteerMatch Volunteers! An Afternoon at the SF-Marin Food Bank

Rice. Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of it. Scooping, weighing, packing. Talking, singing, laughing.

Such was the afternoon for VolunteerMatch staff a few weeks ago at the SF-Marin Food Bank. At least once a quarter, VolunteerMatch chooses a group volunteer activity to bring its employees together for a common cause.

Group Photo Food Bank

The VolunteerMatch Team at the SF-Marin Food Bank.

It was my first time volunteering at a food bank, and also, as a new employee at VolunteerMatch, my first time participating in an organization-wide volunteer day. Nervous about spending so much time with my new co-workers, and not knowing what to expect at the food bank, I arrived with slight hesitation.

We were immediately greeted by friendly staff, who thanked us for being there. We were trained on rice packing by a man full of jokes and good cheer. He turned the music on (an eclectic assortment of hits from the last 50 years) and we all got to work.

Measuring out rice doesn’t seem like a glamorous task. But the welcoming atmosphere ofTwo VolunteerMatch Staff volunteering at SF-Marin FoodBank the SF-Marin Food Bank paired with lively conversations with great people I’m just getting to know – well, the afternoon seemed like it ended too soon. We finished up by hearing stories about the families we were helping, and were sent off hailed as “superheroes”.

This opportunity showed me firsthand the value of employee volunteer programs. I had the chance to bond with my coworkers, and I’m proud to be a part of an organization that practices what it preaches. It also showed me the value of a well-run volunteer program, such as the one at the SF-Marin Food Bank. I will certainly be back.

Jeff Bautista, one of our Senior Client Relations Managers, put together this short video. You can see for yourself the impact VolunteerMatch had – as well as the fun we had. Enjoy!

A #GivingTuesday Message from Your Social Good Enabler

Help us make more volunteer superheroes - and connect more nonprofits with volunteers - by making a small donation to VolunteerMatch.For close to 100,000 nonprofit organizations, VolunteerMatch is content – proud, even – to fade into the background. We are an easy-to-use, free tool for nonprofits to use when connecting with volunteers. We witness with pleasure the impact created by the organizations that use our tools. After all, close to a billion dollars in social value in one year is nothing to sneeze at!

Today, though, we’re taking the opportunity on #GivingTuesday to reach out to our network of volunteers, companies and nonprofit professionals and ask you to help support us as we work to connect even more good people and good causes. We’re asking you to make a small donation to VolunteerMatch.

Did you know that VolunteerMatch is also a nonprofit? Your support means we can continue our work of leveraging technology for social good. We can continue to make sure each cause and each nonprofit organization gets the help it needs to do its important work.

We know you’re busy today with your own fundraising initiatives, working to get important support for your organizations. But if you’ve considered giving to other worthy causes on a personal level, please consider donating to VolunteerMatchAny amount will help us.

After all, should everyone have the chance to make a difference? Help us make more volunteer superheroes by donating to VolunteerMatch today.

Thank you!

The Responsive Tech that Powers Your Volunteer Recruitment

Responsive Design on the VolunteerMatch HomepageHere’s a fun activity: Take out your smartphone, open a Web browser, and go to www.volunteermatch.org. Looks nice, right?

We just released a fully responsive version of our website. This means that when volunteers come to VolunteerMatch.org to search and sign up for your volunteer opportunities, it’s even easier and prettier. Special thanks to our mobile Innovation Sponsor, UnitedHealth Group, for making this exciting upgrade possible!

Why Does Responsive Design Matter for Volunteer Engagement?

That’s a fair question. Let’s start with the numbers: Over 25% of people coming to our website these days are doing so via a mobile phone (this doesn’t even count tablet users!) To give you an idea of magnitude, that’s been about 2 million people so far in 2014. That number is up about 60% since last year. So the mobile market is growing for volunteer engagement, too.

Now let’s get into the fuzzier stuff. We want to make sure everyone has the chance to make a difference. Mobile phones are a big way many people – including lower-income, and physically-challenged folks – are able to access the Internet. Now the experience on VolunteerMatch will be as seamless, beautiful, fun and easy for them as it is for someone on a desktop computer.

So the switch to responsive design makes it more likely that anyone on a mobile phone, whether they are on their couch, at work, at a bus stop, waiting during their kid’s violin lesson, or weaving along the sidewalk, will find and sign up for your volunteer opportunities.

Should Nonprofits Do Anything Different?

Responsive volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.org.You certainly don’t have to. You volunteer opportunities will automatically be optimized to look beautiful no matter what device someone is using. However, we do have a few simple tips to make the content of your listings stand out for people while on the go:

  • Keep it short and simple. Make it easy for someone to quickly read about the opportunity while scrolling through with their fingers. Otherwise, chances are they won’t take the time, and they’ll miss important details or they’ll give up and not sign up at all. Bullet points, simple lists and short sentences all work great.
  • Make your title extra-special. While on-the-go, many people won’t click through to view an opportunity unless it looks especially fun and inviting, or exactly what they’re looking for. So make sure your opportunity title is very descriptive, and make it witty or even funny so it stands out from the rest of the search results.
  • Include skills. Busy folks on their mobile phones will be more attracted to volunteer opportunities that seem tailor-made for them, and this means their specific skills. Fortunately, VolunteerMatch has a Listing Wizard that helps you choose the right skills for your opportunity. (And don’t forget, these listings are then automatically sent to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, for even more exposure!)

So what are you waiting for? Post some mobile-friendly volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch now, and let us know what you think about the new, responsive version of the website!

People Make the Difference: Explore a Year of Impact

Everyone should have the chance to make a difference – wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why VolunteerMatch makes it easier for people to connect with the causes they care about.

Explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report

To take a look at how far we have come, it is a pleasure to share with you VolunteerMatch’s Annual Impact Report – a graphic look at people and causes, like your organization, who are making a difference.

Last year was an important time for us: we re-launched www.VolunteerMatch.org with a one-of-a-kind recommendations engine, overhauled our workplace group management services, ventured onto your mobile phone, and pushed our entire technical infrastructure into the cloud.

And it worked. The improvements helped us power almost a billion dollars’ worth of volunteer service in 2013. And together, we can do even more.

Don’t worry, we’ll dive into each of the sections of this awesome infographic in detail, but for now, enjoy exploring the impact we made together last year – and join in as we create impact in 2014 that exceeds all expectations.

Click here to explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report!

Welcome to Our New Communications & Social Media Intern

Hey everyone! My name is Tori Fukumitsu, I am the new Communications & Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch, and I am very excited to join the Online Communications team and the VolunteerMatch family.

I currently attend Hamilton College in Clinton, NY where I am a Junior and an English major with a Japanese minor. At Hamilton, I have had the privilege to meet so many great people from diverse backgrounds who are extremely driven and love learning, and I can’t wait to build similar relationships at VolunteerMatch. My studies have helped cultivate my written and verbal skills which I am very eager to apply to the internship at VM.

Outside of the classroom I am involved in a number of activities. After two semesters of tutoring local elementary school students in an underserved school district through America Reads, I took on a larger role this past semester as a site coordinator for HAVOC, Hamilton’s largest volunteer and outreach club. I led students on weekly trips to a local homeless and hunger shelter called Rescue Mission of Utica where we lent a helping hand to their food service program.

In addition to my volunteer work, I hold two on-campus jobs, am a member of the Hamilton College Orchestra, and captain three intramural sports. In my spare time I enjoy playing acoustic guitar, watching hockey, hiking, and listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Back at home in the Bay Area, I have had the pleasure of applying my passion for giving back to my community in various volunteer opportunities. Last summer, I volunteered with the nutrition program at Kimochi, a Japanese nonprofit in San Francisco, and embodied its mission of the younger generation helping the older generation by serving lunch twice a week to over two hundred senior citizens. My time at Kimochi inspired me to learn more about my Japanese heritage, and led me to decide to study abroad in Tokyo this April.

I also spent the summer as a research assistant for a Stanford graduate student’s Ph.D project on mixed race high school youth, and had a very enlightening experience. Additionally, I serve as an assistant editor for the Sierra Club of San Francisco’s online publication, the Yodeler, spreading the word about the Club’s stance on legislative measures and environmental concerns.

These experiences and the skills I have developed led me to this internship at VolunteerMatch, and I believe it will be a great fit on both sides. Much as I anticipate a career in a business setting, I am very passionate about volunteering, and am excited for this opportunity where those two spheres coexist.

As a Communications & Social Media intern, I will be engaging the public, spreading the word not only about VolunteerMatch’s service to the world, but also the importance of volunteering and supporting our communities. And what better way to do so than at the intersection of volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders.

I will be on this blog a lot in the coming months, and I am really looking forward to meeting you all!